ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam –
Defenders assigned to the 736th Security Forces Squadron, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, participated in Cope Thunder 2-23, July 13 – 17, 2023, at Mactan Air Base, Cebu, Philippines.
The team was on a fly-away mission which consisted of providing security for aircraft, assets and personnel during the exercise. The team also assisted the Philippine Air Force with their first -fly- away missions to various locations throughout the Philippines Islands, providing security for both U.S. and PAF assets.
“It was a huge honor to lead the first joint fly-away security missions with the PAF,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Artero, 736 SFS supply technician and section supervisor. “It was very rewarding to see all the hard work that took place in a real-world environment and for it to run so smoothly.”
This opportunity allowed the team to build a stronger relationship with the PAF and learn valuable information for future subject matter expert exchange engagements.
“The greatest takeaway from this is that you can always learn something new,” said Artero. “Keeping an open mind is important in making something like this work with such great success.”
During operational aspects of the mission, each nation had different methods of executing the mission. This, along with the language barrier, made communication difficult at times. By working together, both parties were able to better understand each other’s mission objectives and cultivate a relationship of trust between nations. The exchange of information in tactics and operation methods allow for enhanced future operations, ensuring a free-and-open Indo-Pacific.
“I personally learned the inner workings of putting together a joint operation like this,” said Artero. “It also helped my team build an even stronger relationship with our host nation counterparts.”